The Guardian has a whopper of a movie review out today, in advance of the U.K. opening of Rocky Balboa next Friday. Reviewer Joe Queenan's basic premise: the popularity of the Rocky series is entirely due to its subconscious appeal (to whites) of a white underdog consistently besting black champions in their prime. The review touches on every previous entry in the series, beginning with Rocky, in which the white hero is paired up against a "motor-mouthed African-American punk who shows no respect for America." According to Queenan, the film said "exactly what White America wanted to hear: They're gifted but we work harder." Moving on from there, "Rocky II was insane, Rocky III and IV were even more insane, and Rocky V was really insane."
By the time Queenan arrives at Rocky Balboa, you can imagine his head spinning as he describes how heavyweight champion Mason 'The Line' Dixon "has only battled tough black men in their 20s, but has never had to face the ultimate test: a 10-round bout with a decrepit Caucasian restaurateur pushing 60." Fans of the series also come in for a beating: "Hardcore fans of the Rocky series have a tough time distinguishing fact from fiction, almost certainly never get any closer to an art museum than the steps leading up to it, and aren't terrifically bright."